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Showing posts from January, 2020

The Clutter-Free Home Making Room for Your Life by Kathi Lipp

This is a really useful book if you want to do the hard work involved in decluttering. Kathy Lipp used to have thirteen bookcases, and tells a story about thanking her friend (who has five children) for cleaning the house for her.  The friend said that she actually didn't clean the house before Kathy visited! Kathy Lipp then decided to try and follow her example.

This is different from most decluttering books because it allows for messiness, and it is also written from a Christian perspective! Kathy Lipp wants readers to repurpose and reorganise their houses so that they become relaxing and warm spaces. She has helpful chapters on how to declutter every room, according to the purpose of the room, the zones of the room and how you would like the room to look and feel. I found that her chapter on the living-room was not as detailed as the other chapters, unfortunately. She also has general advice on what to keep and what to throw away, and on daily and weekly decluttering tasks.  It…

Love Without End by Melvyn Bragg

This is a radiant story about the tragic love affair between the revolutionary philosopher Peter Abelard and the beautiful and clever Heloise.  Bragg is, surprisingly, better at bringing Heloise's radical and defiant character to life than Abelard's until the end of the book when Abelard becomes more understandable.  This may be because Abelard appears to today's readers as extremely domineering and self-centred to Heloise.

Bragg deals with this to some extent by making the story a novel within a novel.  He combines the love story with a modern-day tale of the father who is writing it telling his daughter about it, and discussing it with her. This gives it ballast and helps explain medieval religious views and attitudes. I didn't find the characters of the father and daughter as convincing as those of Abelard and Heloise, although their story is quite moving.

I always like Melvyn Bragg's books and this made me want to read more about Abelard and Heloise. The only p…

Optimal Outcomes : Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, PhD

It is very easy to get stuck in conflict, especially about politics, but, more importantly, at work. I usually try not to discuss politics or controversial topics at all, but as Goldman-Wetzler writes, this isn't a good way to resolve conflict! I think that her system is probably more useful for those who have conflicts in work and business situations, however, and it is incredibly useful there.

She has developed a set of eight practices to help readers break free from their conflict loops, and she provides useful examples about how these helped people in various situations. It takes a lot of work and thought, but it is certainly worth reading and even just the first practice of just pausing really helps on several occasions.

I received this free ebook from Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

The Imprisoned Princess The Scandalous Life of Sophia Dorothea of Celle by Catherine Curzon

By Jacques Vaillant - Wikimedia Commons

Poor Sophia Dorothea might have been the first Hanoverian Queen, but she became a prisoner instead because of a tragic love affair and the several evil forces against her. A heartbroken bride from the first, Sophia hated her husband Prince George - when she knew of her intended betrothal she threw his miniature across the wall and shouted, "I will not marry the pig snout!" The handsome soldier and adventurer Phillip von Königsmarck  was a very different matter. Sophia Dorothea would pay a terrible price for loving him...

Catherine Curzon brings intelligent and likeable but rather naive Sophia to life in this book, as well as such characters as the evil Clara von Platen. Sometimes, it is a little bit difficult to tell when she is writing actual history or speculation, for example, she theorises somewhat about what happened to von Königsmarck. Although this is a sad story, Curzon tells it in a lively, engaging and enjoyable way. Sometim…

Fell Murder A British Library Crime Classic by E.C.R. Lorac Poisoned Pen Press

The Garths, an old farming family in the North Country who own a large house which has been there since before Flodden Field, are a 'rum lot'. The old Squire is a curmudgeon who controls the family and has disputes with all of his children. Richard, the heir, fell out with him when he married and left for Canada, but he has come back after several years although he is keeping a low profile. Malcolm, sensitive and nervy, hates farming and writes poetry as well as keeping bees. Charles, his half-brother, has come back from Malaya. He hates farming too, being used to lots of servants. Marion, the single daughter, wants to modernize the farm and is arguing with her father. Elizabeth is in the Land Army and staying at the home. Her name is often shortened to 'Lisa'.

When the old father is murdered, suspicion falls on several people, including the mentally-challenged boy who works for him, and a farmer who has a dispute with him. Sensible Inspector MacDonald arrives to solve…

Abandoned Castles by Kieron Connolly

This is a must-read for anyone who lives castles. Filled with spectacular pictures of abandoned castles all over the world, it contains short introductions describing castles all over the world in each era and short passages about the images. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the author's use of the abbreviations BCE and CE for B.C. and A.D. which always really annoys me.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans Bookouture

This is a rather miserable and melodramatic book with the redeeming features of a lovable hero and an atmospheric setting in a glamorous era.  The self-sabotaging heroine, Tatiana, goes from one disaster to another, although she is likeable enough and her reasons for this are explained. Although I enjoyed the book, I won't be reading it again. Miserable books seem to be very popular at the moment, I am not sure why. The times are bad enough!

The book begins with the evil brother of Tatiana raping her and getting her pregnant. A Russian refugee in Paris, Tatiana works in the couture business and her pregnancy leaves her in grave danger of losing her job. Will her aristocratic fiancee stand by her? What are her feelings about handsome Regan, a smart young American photographer?

I loved the descriptions of life in Paris and the fashion and photography businesses in the 1920s, and I thought that this was a well-written historical novel, although the writing wasn't smooth at times…